Part fiction, part non-fiction, Charles Nicholl's The Fruit Palace was a book begging to be written on the Great Cocaine Story from the 1980's. Setting out to report on the who, how and why of Colombian cocaine smuggling, Nicholl propels himself to the forefront of the story, in typical gonzo fashion. In the process he he samples plenty of product, deals with loads of shady characters and puts himself squarely in harms way in order to try and get the scoop.
Following faithfully in the footsteps of Graham Greene and his cousin as they embark at Sierra Leone in 1935 before setting off on a 4-week walk through Liberia and Guinea, Butcher and his companions David, Johnson and Mr Omaru likewise take on the West African jungle interior, travelling by foot through this much maligned and worn torn part of the world.
Glory in a Camel's Eye (also known as Valley of the Casbahs) is a beautifully written account of Tayler's 2001 arduous trek on foot and camel through the Draa Valley in South East Morocco. A book conjuring up wonderful desert landscapes, this is a modern-day version to rival Arabian Sands which, in similar fashion to Thesiger's book, laments the lost nomadic life of the Bedouin Ruhhal that Tayler journeys with.
Following on from his two wildly successful walking travelogues, Wood delivers yet again an imminently likeable and interesting book which charts his 2,900km journey through Central American highlands, jungles, remote wilderness and urban ganglands. This time, he is accompanied the entire way by his Mexican friend, Alberto, who provides a more consistent counterpoint to his own experiences and ensures that Walking the Americas is a worthy addition to the Levison Wood book stable.
After his hugely successful book and TV series Walking the Nile, Wood appears set for a life of suburban bliss, drinking wine and eating cheese in Gordons Wine Bar, believed to be London's oldest wine bar and prior place of residence for Rudyard Kipling in the 1890's. Aided by what one can only imagine as far too many glasses of vintage port, Wood realises he isn't quite ready to hang up the hiking boots just yet and that the lure of just "one more" walking escapade needs to be undertaken, this time along the mighty Himalayas.
Walking the Nile is an extremely good travelogue detailing Levison Wood's 9 month journey from the source of the Nile in Rwanda's Nyungwe Forest to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt by foot. Travelling close to 6,700 kilometres through tropical forests, swamps, mangroves and deserts, Wood's achievement amidst civil wars and bureaucratic nightmares fully deserves to rank among the best of modern day exploration feats.
Arabian Sands by Sir Wilfred Thesiger is an all-time classic mostly describing his travels and exploration of The Empty Quarter, Yemen and The Western Sands in Arabia in the mid to late 1940’s. An extremely important and fascinating account of the nomadic Bedouin (the Bedu) and their lifestyle, Arabian Sands exposes the reader to a wealth of information on the people, history, geography and customs of this arid region.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time is a perfect blend of the author’s personal travelogue from trips taken in 2009 and historical information of the “discovery” of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham III. Written with a keen eye for detail and in humourous fashion, this is must read for anybody considering hiking the Inca Trail or visiting Machu Picchu, as it also provides a wealth of information not just on Machu Picchu itself but also on other surrounding archaeological sites and trails.
Preston writes an amazing story of the history and archaeological discovery of the White City (La Ciudad Blanca) situated deep within the Honduran jungle. Since the earliest day of Hernan Cortes in the early 16th century, there has always circulated rumours of a hidden city nicknamed the Lost City of the Monkey God which would bestow wealth beyond all imagination for anyone who could find it. Preston’s story provides the long history of those who have sought their fortune trying to find this fabled city along with his own search in this inhospitable and dangerous part of the world.
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is Jon Krakauer's bestselling book detailing the events that took place in 1996 when eight climbers lost their lives on the world's highest peak called Sigarmartha (goddess of the sky) by the Nepalis and Jomolungma (goddess, mother of the world) by the Tibetans.
Following his posting in 2000 to Africa with The Daily Telegraph, journalist Tim Butcher nurtures a growing obsession with retracing Henry Morton Stanley's exploration down the Congo River. Stanley's expedition in 1874 is well-known as one that has transformed African history as he journeyed down the Congo River from what at the time was believed to be its source at Lake Tanganyika to the Atlantic Ocean, some 3,000 kms distant.
Congo Journey is the Kindle version's name of Redmond O'Hanlon's book first published in 1996 called No Mercey: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo.
I read this as part of a quartet of Congo River books I'd bought with a view to deciding which book was the best Congo River journey of them all. Part way through the book however, I realised that Congo Journey was quite different from the others in that the travelogue mostly occurred on land away from the Congo River and secondarily it took place in the People's Republic of the Congo.